So, What the Hell Is Good Music Anyway?

I’m out of town, so in light of doing actual work, I thought I would throw this up and maybe start a discussion.

In my Des Moines Is Not Boring column, I talk a little bit about not being a huge fan of The Nadas. I would never go so far as to call them sub-par musicians or anything, they’re just not for me. But they seem to be super popular around town, so maybe I’m just wrong.

A week or so ago, I went to the Gas Lamp for a friend’s birthday party. The Gas Lamp is a cool joint if you haven’t been. The new varnished wood and the bright lights allow the bar to sparkle in a way that some of the other venues in town don’t. I suppose that can be a good or bad thing as sometimes it feels a little too much like hanging out at a bar and listening to music as opposed to being at a concert.

I set out that night to prepare a review of the venue, but my mood and the mood of the crowd kind of impaired me from being truly objective. On this particular night, there were two bands and (I won’t name them because I don’t want it to seem like bad press and that isn’t my goal) I wasn’t a fan. It just seemed a little too immature for my tastes, but man the (very inebriated) masses were having a good time.

So, for those of us in the audience, and heck maybe even some of the artists, how do we acuratly quantify what is “good” and what sucks? To those of us who think we have good taste, what are we looking for in our music? And can someone truly then have a “guilty pleasure”? Also, if we are turning our nose to other audience members for their tastes, why are they wrong? Is it a matter of not being exposed properly?

Anyway, give it some thought and have a good weekend.

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